Dispelling the five e-learning myths

E-learning has picked up its fair share of misconceptions. KnowledgePool’s
Paul Butler sets the record straight.

E-learning is a panacea that can replace traditional learning methods. E-learning
will never be a suitable learning method for all aspects of training and will
frequently fail to deliver if it is seen as a one-stop shop. It must form part
of an organisation’s learning strategy and works best when it is delivered as
part of a blended training solution that may incorporate classroom-based
learning, interactive learning, online support and mentoring. Employees may
feel alienated if a personal or group-based training experience is suddenly
replaced with what they perceive as impersonal technology.

Technology and delivery infrastructure products are the most important
elements of e-learning.
Many companies implementing e-learning have focused
exclusively on the technology and have forgotten the fundamental tenets of
learning itself. However modern, impressive and accessible it may be,
technology cannot deliver a training programme on its own and companies which
have simply installed technology and stood back, have seen their training
projects fail. Technology should never be prioritised over the content of what
is being taught. Engaging with the subject and connecting with the learning is
key to success.

E-learning is only suitable for teaching IT courses to the technically
E-learning is designed to be self-explanatory and easy to follow,
especially if it is used in conjunction with online support and mentoring. Many
e-learning programmes are designed to teach non-IT literate staff. E-learning
is a highly effective way of delivering soft skills training such as
communications skills, project management and managing budgets. Companies must
put communications and change programmes in place to ensure staff understand
what e-learning is. Set time aside for employees to use e-learning with
internal support.

Any content developer can become an e-learning company. During the
dotcom boom, many content providers with no background in training, set
themselves up as training providers because they were able to deliver course
content with the help of technology. Content is only one part of an e-learning
offering and companies should ensure they select an e-learning provider with a
training and education track record if they want e-learning projects to

E-learning was only a flash in the pan. It is easy to dismiss
e-learning as another ‘crash and burn’ technology trend that is all hype and no
substance. However, e-learning does have proven benefits, for example
up-to-date content, convenience, consistency, flexibility and cost
effectiveness. These benefits can be realised if e-learning is implemented
strategically, as a supplement to other training methods and with a full
understanding of how it works, what it can and cannot deliver.

Paul Butler is CEO of e-learning provider KnowledgePool.


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